Finals week and Christmas flew by after helping Irina get the medical attention she needed. I was very thankful that her injuries were minor. But she needed someone to check on her. I found myself, at the request of her elderly sister Sasha, spending my evenings and nights in the house I admired and finding it a wonderful place to study.
January came quickly and I could not wait to get back to campus. It was not the study I was looking forward to, although I had received A’s and B’s on my report card and looked forward to Freshman Physics. It was the coffee shop job and Irina I could not wait to return to.
I determined to spend at least two nights a week at her house so that I could be there if she needed anything. I also did it because the house was filled photos and framed newspaper articles, yellowed with age, in a language, Russian I assumed, because the papers were printed in the Cyrillic language.
What I really loved was the photo appeared to be her wedding picture. It dominated, by both its subject and its size, the large foyer which slightly dog legged to the right between the stair case on the immediate left of the front door, and the living room on the right. It was framed with a pure silver frame, just like my Grandfather and Grandmother Kildare’s wedding picture.
About the third week of January as we both felt comfortable with one another, I finally asked her, between bites of marvelous tea cakes and hot spice tea, “Irina, would you tell me about your wedding picture?”
A variety of looks washed across her face like waves in a shallow pool as she composed an answer.
“His name was Kirill, said like “KeeRill.”
“He was a marvelous man. He was a good man,” she said with a look that bespoke passion.
The door bell rang.
We both said, “Who could that be?”
I went to the door and looked through the peephole.
And promptly turned white.
“Alice, what is wrong?’
“Uh, nothing… nothing” and opened the door.
It was my angel…uh it was GREG!
“Hi, how are two of my favorite ladies tonight!”
“Він був любов’ю всього мого життя. Він був хорошою людиною.” Irina said. (“He was the love of my life. He was a good man.”)
I said nothing. I just…smiled.